Our couple chose as their marriage venue their local Christ Church Reading Berkshire. This 150 year old church just south of Reading town centre is a well known landmark by virtue of the impressive spire reaching into the sky.
Travel is pretty easy as Reading itself is well-connected and Christ Church is only a short distance from junctions 10, 11, and 12 of the M4 motorway. Parking is tricky in the immediate area - the church has no public parking of its own - so guests should allow plenty of time.
Christ Church Reading has quite large grounds to the front and to one side which are well-maintained and very suitable as locations for the important group photos of family and friends. On Charmaine and Jasons' day the weather got the better of us and we were not able to do much at all outside the church but fortunately their wedding reception venue is photogenic and we were able to make good use of a break in the rain when we arrived there.
Our vicar David is due to retire a few months after the time of writing. David is very relaxed and easy to work with; this soon became apparent when Peter attended the rehearsal. He has no silly rules with regard to professional photography and video during marriage ceremonies and so Peter was able to shoot a good variety of both. Afterwards David commented how unintrusive the video coverage had been (even with Peter running three video cameras!) and said that he had not even been aware of it. Fingers crossed that his successor at Christ Church is likeminded!
After the ceremony finished we made the short journey to west Reading to Charmaine and Jasons' wedding reception venue Pincents Manor.
Pincents Manor in Calcot Reading is a lovely old manor house dating from the 14th century, with attractive grounds and helpful attentive staff. It really ought to be more popular than appears to be the case; maybe that is because it is tucked away beyond an industrial and retail estate (which are not visible from the venue) and so has a somewhat low profile. It is well worth checking out as you'll see from the main galleries.
We had to dodge the showers at Pincents Manor in order to complete Charmaine's extensive list of posed photos with the guests. The staff were very helpful in clearing a room in the main manor house ready for indoor photos but shortly after starting inside the weather cleared enough for us to make use of the Pincents Manor beautiful gardens.
The bride and groom chose a short duration photography and video package which Peter offers for some dates. Coverage started with the latter stages of the girls getting ready and finished after the guests had been called and seated for the wedding breakfast.
The getting ready coverage usually includes some detail photos of the flowers, dress, shoes, jewellery etc and a little of what the girls are up to (and the fellas if available). The flowers always make for a nice photo and a great reminder of the day and the colours in years to come:
Charmaine's mum was on hand to help her achieve perfection before setting off for the church:
It was a tight fit as it nearly always is what with everyone getting ready at the same time and in the same place. An extreme wide angle lens can be invaluable to professional wedding photographers to help capture the atmosphere and detail such as in the next photo where mother and bride complete the finishing touches to Charmaine's dress:
The distinctive Spire of Christ Church Reading Berkshire is visible for miles around:
And another view of Christ Church Reading Berkshire as seen from the main road, with a few guests arriving:
Peter always aims to shoot a few pics of the groom and best man shortly before the start of the wedding ceremony. A last photo of Jason as a single man!
The next image gives you some idea of the large scale of the interior of Christ Church Reading. This is always welcomed by professional wedding photographers as it makes moving to alternative viewpoints so much smoother. At the rear of the church you can see the balcony. Access is unlocked during wedding ceremonies and the balcony makes a good extra vantage point:
Photos shot with the subject against a very bright background can never be technical masterpieces (not unless you have lots of time available to shoot multiple versions for layering in software afterwards anyway!) But they can be very striking as in the next photograph showing our bride and her entourage about to enter the church:
Shortly after the start of Charmaine and Jasons' wedding ceremony Peter went up to the church balcony to shoot some scene setting photos from this unusual vantage point. The videographer seen to the right is actually a guest and nothing to do with Peter's video coverage. It doesn't detract too much from Peter's coverage in this instance but generally it is best if couples discourage guests from shooting photos or video from anywhere other than in the pews:
The low ambient light in venues such as Christ Church Reading always makes great demands on the photographers equipment but with the right techniques lots of shots can be obtained which simply were not possible even a few years ago. Here we can see the groom's dad, attention riveted. Peter always includes black and white versions of some of the colour images in his wedding coverage as you will be able to see in the main galleries:
The church has good access to both sides and so it is possible to switch between a variety of positions without causing any undue distraction. Here we see the father of the bride has just given her hand and the vows are about to start:
The exchange of rings is always a nice shot to have. Not the easiest of shots in a dark venue and from many yards away but oh so atmospheric:
Peter always carries two stills cameras so that he can instantly switch between close shots such the one above and wide shots such as the next photo also of the ring exchange without having to change lenses:
Our vicar David in full flow during his sermon:
As our couple listen attentively from their seats opposite:
The blessing takes place at the high altar towards the end of the wedding ceremony:
And them Charmaine and Jason make their way to the vestry to sign the legal documents, clearly relieved that it is nearly complete!
Some venue do not permit the shooting of the signing of the civil register but our vicar David was not too concerned so long as personal data is not readable. Makes for a lovely poignant moment:
The recessional - where the bride and groom make their exit from the church - is a hard shoot what with low light and fast subject movement, but makes for some great images:
The weather was cold windy and wet by this stage so our couple made a rapid departure from Christ Church. Just time for Peter to grab a few shots such as this one with an extreme wide angle lens which helps to give a real feel for what it was like to be there on the day:
Pincents Manor Calcot Reading was the venue for the wedding breakfast. The main building has 14th century origins and it looks great. Its thatched barn which was located behind the manor house was burned down a few years ago and has been replaced by a modern roomy purpose built building. The grounds are nicely landscaped and do have some shaded areas suitable for portrait photos in bright conditions:
On our couples arrival the ground was wet and so Jason assisted his new bride with her dress whilst they made their way to join their guests for drinks:
The little people at weddings usually make good photo subjects and this young lady was no exception:
Our couples wedding breakfast was held in the new facility adjacent to the old manor house. Here we can see it dressed ready for the start:
And a detail from the table settings. Peter always aims to shoot the room once it is finished but before the guests enter:
The wedding cake took pride of place on the dance floor during the wedding breakfast:
Eventually the weather cleared up enough for us to venture outside for some of the important posed photos with the wedding party, family, and friends. Here our bride enjoys a giggle with her bridesmaids:
And not forgetting the groomsmen:
Then the wedding breakfast got underway:
Guests are welcome to request that Peter shoots posed photos of themselves. They can then obtain the digital files and prints direct from Peter or via the couple. Here we have our best man and witness with their little boy in the grounds of Pincents Manor Reading. Many families seem to neglect having decent photos made of themselves and then before they know it the kids are grown up and its too late:
All content on this site is the copyright of Peter Riding of Ashton Lamont. Do not steal. I have a very particular set of skills I have acquired over a long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. Do not steal now, and that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you do steal, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. (With appreciation to Bryan in "Taken").